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Cinmeon Bowers' Auburn story more than double-doubles
Jan. 14, 2015

CinmeonBowers
Cinmeon Bowers has made an instant impact at Auburn

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com
 
AUBURN, Ala. -- It's easy for Auburn big man Cinmeon Bowers to accept some constructive criticism from Bruce Pearl. Words are not going to hurt him, considering all he's been through.
 
He was shot five times -- nine bullet holes because most went in, then out -- on Feb. 1, 2011 when he was in high school during an attempted robbery of a car near Milwaukee. "Bad place at the wrong time," Bowers said.
 
He said he didn't initially feel the shooting, but the realization soon hit home. He feared his career was over.
 
"I didn't think I was going to play basketball again," he says.
 
Oh, but Cinmeon Bowers did, and does. The big forward and the No. 1 junior college prospect in the country last year has found a home at Auburn this season with Pearl, Auburn's new basketball coach. "By the grace of God, I'm here," Bowers said. He has nine double-doubles after 15 games, and is one of only three players from a major conference who could make that claim. He heads into Auburn's game at Florida on Thursday night leading the SEC in rebounding, is 12th in scoring and is an integral part of the Tigers' game.
 
"It's amazing. I don't know how I do it," he said.
 
Pearl has demanded much of Bowers because he thinks he can be more of a complete player. That's OK with the big man.
 
"I like Coach Pearl a lot. He's a real guy," Bowers said. "He brings a lot of energy, too."
 
Bowers is big enough to play, at 6-foot-7 and a stout 278 pounds, though he's undersized, at least height-wise, inside. That's why Pearl has told him to not think of himself as an undersized center, but as a forward with moves.
 
Oh, he has moves, because Cinmeon Bowers, all 278 pounds of him, would really like to go coast to coast after a defensive rebound with his basket in clear view, oh, say, 86 feet away.
 
Pearl says he lets Bowers have one or two crazy moments a game.
 
"That means a lot," Bowers said. "It means you have to play hard because he lets me do whatever I want to do.
 
"I can handle the ball. It's so slow just to make an outlet pass. I like to bring it up."
 
Pearl can live with that, on occasion.
 
"Not everything the players do are things that I would do or I would necessarily agree with. But I want my players to play with emotion and I do want them to have fun. And I want them to play with some freedom," Pearl said. "I want them to have sportsmanship and I want them to be the best example they could possibly be, but I don't want them to be robots."
Cinmeon Bower is no robot.
 
"Cim's a funny guy," said guard K.C. Ross-Miller. "He's emotional and not in a bad way. He is just an energetic guy and he has fun when he is out there playing. He is just someone who will bring the energy."
 
Bowers was already a college recruit before he was shot. Still, he says Florida State, Louisville, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Minnesota and Missouri all recruited him. He landed in a Florida junior college, committed to Florida State, but signed after Auburn assistant coach Tony Jones came calling. Bowers didn't know Pearl when he signed because Pearl was, at the time, restricted in his recruiting.
 
"I didn't talk to Coach Pearl. I really just took a chance," he said.
 
But Bowers saw an opportunity to play.  He was right.
 
Bowers had 18 points and 17 rebounds in his first game, setting an Auburn Arena rebound record. He was the first Auburn player to record a double-double in his debut since David Hamilton in 1998. 
 
Bowers had come a long way. 
 
"When you start the season with something to prove, then you have an edge to you," Pearl said. "You don't have a reputation to live up to, because you don't have a reputation. You have to establish yourself one." 
 
Bowers started fast, then hit a lull about the time of finals for the fall semester. Pearl said Bowers was concentrating on his studies. 
 
"Sometimes it is a little bit harder to live up to the hype, than it is when there isn't much hype and you want to prove something," Pearl said. "He still has to prove it night in and night out. Don't try to live up to a double-double man, you need to prove that you have been overlooked your whole career. He needs to stay hungry."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:

 

 

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